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Old August 25th, 2003, 07:24 PM   #16
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Stay tuned folks. I have an appointment at the end of the week.

As far as the price, Frank, I believe the Magiqcam is very competitively priced for a dual articulated arm stabilizer. About half the price of the Steadicam Mini, which has only a single sprung arm section.

Wayne, as I mentioned earlier in this thread, the term "professional camera operator" is a somewhat subjective description. Anyone who makes a buck operating a camera is a "professional", whether they are shooting weddings or porn or legal depositions. You and I obviously work in a different league than that, but let's keep in mind what the intended market for these products are. Plus, I'm sure you know that there are probably dozens of camera assistants in the Guild book who are out there shooting low budget or corporate work as an operator or DP, but make their bread and butter AC'ing on union shows.

I do agree with you about the demo though. It's not particularly impressive.
Charles Papert
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Old August 25th, 2003, 08:24 PM   #17
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Thanks Charles---I had no idea these are so much money. I'll stay tuned for your review.
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Old August 25th, 2003, 11:11 PM   #18
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Everything's relative, bubby. Back in the late 80's, the manufacturer of the Steadicam brought out the first rig designed for the video market, the shocked the Steadicam community at the time, because instead of costing $65K like the standard rig, it "only" cost $40K or something like that!

It bends my mind a little bit still that these days, one can achieve within 90% of the effect of a full-size rig for 5% of the cost. Not to mention how good this teeny, inexpensive cameras are these days...and don't get me started on how much I love Final Cut Pro, etc.! If this stuff had been around when I was Alex K.'s age!
Charles Papert
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Old August 31st, 2003, 03:17 AM   #19
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Well, OK. I had a lengthy meeting today with John Gardner, the man behind the Magiqcam. We looked at some improvements he has made in his current production model over an earlier version owned by a friend of mine, and discussed some further improvements.

First of all, I should make the following disclaimer: I am not connected in any way with Magiqcam, and this review does not imply a specific endorsement of their products, nor does it indicate a preference of their products over other manufacturers. On a pure performance level, I have not evaluated it directly against these rigs, so I cannot make direct comparisons. I also can't speak to issues relating to business practices, customer service or marketing techniques; I'm just here to discuss the rig itself.

Based on the progress of the Magiqcam from its early incarnation, and on the implementation of some upgrades and tweaks in the very near future, I believe that it is indeed a viable camera stabilizer and certainly a good value for its price point.

There are a suprising number of stabilizers aimed at the DV market today. To call one a "knockoff' of another is beside the point; they all stem from the original Steadicam design in one form or another. The Magiqcam, despite its name, doesn't really have any new tricks up its sleeve; it's simply a solidly built variation on currently available DV-scaled body-mounted stabilizers.

A brief rundown on components:

The vest is comfortable, with a good grade of nylon that should breath well. I wore the rig for an hour straight and felt at home in it.

The arm is a fairly standard configuration for this class of stabilizer. It is a dual section arm, which means more boom range and can support more weight than most single-section arms. It is fairly good at vertical isolation. I'm not an expert on all the brands and models out there (I don't know if anyone can keep up) but it gave the performance I expected, with a minimal amount of friction. It includes a bearing at the bottom of the gimbal mount, which adds an additional pivot point. I am used to this feature from my PRO arm, but some may find it strange.

The sled integrates a Bogen quick-release into the top, which has obvious advantages for those who have compatible fluid heads; moving the camera from stabilizer to tripod would be a very quick manuever. Side-to-side adjustment is incorporated into the base of the platform. The top and bottom of the post telescope to aid in balancing. While I prefer a migrating gimbal, this method will do the trick and add some flexibility in the length of the rig. The monitor and battery mounts at the base of the sled can rotate around the center post, if needed (I don't recommend this for most types of shooting, however). Currently, the design calls for the owner to bring their own monitor and battery system to the table, but that may change in the future.

The gimbal works well overall. The pan bearing in particular is a good performer, as it absolutely must be to produce good shots. I noted an issue with the tilt bearing, which John promises will be addressed as soon as possible.

To sum up: for the asking price, this rig can provide at least as many and in certain aspects more features than some of the more established brands on the market.
Charles Papert
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Old August 31st, 2003, 05:33 AM   #20
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Thanks Charles....

appreciate it.
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Old August 31st, 2003, 07:20 PM   #21
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I second Dean.
Thanks, Charles.
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